Baby Developmental Milestones: By 8 to 12 Months

Medically Reviewed by Amita Shroff, MD on October 03, 2022
5 min read

During this time, your baby will push themselves into a sitting position, where they can reach for and explore toys, books, and new activities. Help them develop skills like clapping with patty-cake and other hand games.

Your baby is on the move! During this time, they may start crawling, creeping on their tummy, or scooting on their bottom. Don't worry about their style. As long as they use arms and legs on both sides of their body to move, it's OK. Encourage motoring by putting an interesting toy just beyond their reach.

Rocking on their hands and knees is your baby's last step before crawling. They are building their arm and leg muscles so they can propel them forward (or backward). Give them lots of supervised time out of the crib, car seat, and stroller so they can work on moving around and strengthen their arms and legs.

When they can sit well without support (usually about 7 months), your baby will learn to lean over onto all fours. Soon, they'll push off with their knees to crawl. As they become agile, set out pillows, cushions, and boxes for them to crawl over and around. Always supervise this activity, and make sure your home is baby-proof!

Your baby is "cruising" -- walking while holding onto furniture to steady them. Make sure sharp corners are padded and furniture is secured. Hold your baby’s hands while they walk to help them practice. Or let them push a sturdy walking toy with supervision. Their first steps alone are just around the corner.

At around 8-12 months, your baby's torso and leg muscles are strong enough for them to stand without assistance. Rolling over, sitting up on their own, and crawling has boosted their confidence. Make sure toxic products and medicines are locked away and safety gates are up.

Your baby is moving from the raking grasp to a precise finger-and-thumb pincer grasp. For practice, give them little finger foods to pick up -- like cooked peas or O-shaped cereal. Keep away choking hazards, including older children's small toys and foods like grapes, nuts and peanuts, and raw vegetables.

Your baby's hands are busy, putting objects in and out of containers and banging them together. You don't need to invest in a drum set yet. Just about anything safe will work, including pots and pans, plastic containers and wooden spoons, and egg cartons.

Your baby has made their first scribbles - hopefully some marks on a piece of paper and not the wall! They are imitating what their parents and older siblings do. Encourage them to doodle on the sidewalk with thick sidewalk chalk. Or set them up to scribble with fat, sturdy crayons and thick paper.

Though they aren't using words yet, your baby uses their body to talk. They point to things and may nod their head "yes" or "no." They may pause when you say "No!" and "Uh-oh." They may wave "bye bye." Help them learn words with rhymes, songs, and books. Name objects for them often.

Did baby say their first word? Was it "dada"? If so, don't take it personally, Mom. They have stringing sounds together now, and "m" is harder to pronounce than "d." In fact, they probably stumbled upon "dada" by accident. But very soon they'll be saying both "mama" and "dada" and meaning it.

What could be more interesting to baby than dropping an object and watching you pick it up over and over again? They don't mean to try your patience. They learn how the world works by shaking, banging, throwing, and dropping objects. Play together with texture books, balls, and squeeze toys.

A few months ago, if you hid a toy under a blanket while baby was watching, they'd do nothing. Now,they find it easily. They are learning "object permanence" -- that things exist even when they can't see them. Add a twist to peek-a-boo: Throw a blanket over your head and let them pull it off to find you.

Nearing 1 year of age, the baby who was banging on their play telephone not long ago is now dialing and holding the receiver to their ear. They are learning that objects have names and purposes. Give them a hairbrush, a cup, or a spoon, and see how they play with them now.

Your outgoing baby is suddenly anxious around others, even relatives and babysitters. Stranger anxiety is one of baby's first emotional milestones. Around new people or in new places, hold them and give them time to adjust. Ask relatives to let baby make the first move.

With stranger anxiety comes the start of separation anxiety. Your baby is realizing that they are separate from you and that sometimes you aren't there. They may put up a big fuss, but don't sneak out. Always say "good-bye" and tell them you'll return. Eventually they'll realize that you always do.

Your baby is imitating things that go way beyond mimicking faces and sounds now. When playing, they enjoy imitating what people do -- whether it's talking on the phone or sweeping the floor. Give them a plastic bowl and spoon and let them "cook" with you or let them "drive" with a toy car dashboard.

With baby finger-feeding themselves, make sure it's food they can gum. This includes some cereals, shredded cheese, and small pieces of tofu, well-cooked fruits or vegetables, or ripe banana. Avoid foods like raw vegetables, hard fruits, whole grapes, nuts, raisins, popcorn, hard cheese, and hot dogs, all choking hazards.